Nikolai Ivanovich Plekhanov, Winter

Plekhanov transformed the simple theme of winter in a Russian village into a poetic painting. The landscape is noteworthy for its diversity: the hills with their bare lacework trees, the snow-covered steep narrow valleys, the dark walls of the isbas (chalets), are all brought to life by the graceful silhouette of a skier and the presence of birds. The painting depicts a silent, peaceful and harmonious world of remarkable depth. The artist used simple but accurate techniques in composing the work, creating an impression of depth through skillful perspective and a most unusual alternation of foreground and background pictorial areas. In his own way, with no trace of rhetoric, the painter shows us the singular majesty and power of space in this remote province. The restrained harmony of the colours, with tones of grey, pearl, dark green and black predominating, is reminiscent of plein air painting, and renders the emotion of a dull day, along with the specific feelings of that day, hinting of intimacy and inner strength. Plekhanov’s distinctive style synthesizes the heritage of popular imagery, the traditional folk vision of landscape—with its naiveté and its penchant for the ornamental—and a formal structure worthy of a master.
Canadian Heritage Information Network
Samara Art Museum

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